Local Considerations – Buying a property in Cornwall

The Mundic Problem | Representative Mundic Testing/Concrete Screening

Purchasing a property is an exciting experience and is likely to be one of the most expensive purchases many will ever make. It is important that purchasers and any engaged professionals assist in the purchaser’s pre-purchase due diligence, many factors of which will include important and key considerations. This may include the results of standard searches and the findings of a pre-purchase survey but what about geographical considerations and local factors specific to the area you are buying?


Cornwall, for good reason, attracts many purchasers locally and further afield looking for their dream home or investment property. If you are not familiar with the area, you may not have heard of or consider investigating some of the issues that can affect properties in Cornwall:



‘Mundic’ is a local issue predominantly relating to the use of beach aggregates and mining waste in the manufacturing of concrete products and thus, incorporated in the construction of some concrete-built properties built in Cornwall and some parts of Devon. The presence and amounts of some aggregates and waste can lead to deterioration of the concrete.


Representative Mundic Testing/Concrete Screening can be carried through invasive drilling and subsequent analysis of concrete to determine if the areas sampled of a property are affected. Mundic Tests are carried out in accordance with the RICS guidance, of which the current guidance by the RICS is The Mundic Problem – 3rd Edition. Whilst the current guidance advises that due to the “introduction of British Standards for aggregates means it is much less likely that unsuitable material was used after 1950” (RICS The Mundic Problem, 3rd Edition), the guidance advises surveyors to exercise their local knowledge and established best practice to judge whether to test for mundic.


It is important to note that depending on the classification received following Mundic Testing/Concrete Screening, properties can be unmortgageable.


More information in respect of Mundic is available on our website: The Mundic Problem


Radon Gas

Whilst Radon Gas does not just affect Cornwall and can be found everywhere in the UK, Cornwall is renown for having much higher chances of containing high levels of radon.


Radon Gas originates from soil and rocks which escapes into the air and whilst levels are much lower outdoors, levels indoors can be higher and pose a risk to health. Exposure to radiation from radon gas can increase those exposed to the risk of cancer.


Radon Gas measurement packs can be ordered online and typically involves placing instruments around the property to record Radon Gas levels for a period of 3 months. The test pack and instruments is then returned and the results provided in due course.


More information in respect of Radon can be found on https://www.ukradon.org/


Metalliferous Mining

Cornwall is renown for its historic metalliferous mining activity, spanning hundreds of years and generating revenue and jobs for many locals. Whilst metalliferous mining in Cornwall has now predominantly ceased, there is a wide network of historic mine workings, mining features and infrastructure both above and more importantly, hidden below ground.  Purchasers and/or their legal advisers should consider obtaining a mining report, which is typically initially a desktop, research-based exercise on information available from historic mining records. The report will advise of the findings from historic records and depending on the findings of the desktop search, may recommend further investigations or action.


The above are just some of the factors and local issues that purchasers in Cornwall may need to consider when purchasing a property. Using locally based professionals such as solicitors and surveyors when purchasing a property can be invaluable in obtaining their local knowledge and guidance in terms of possible considerations and investigations purchasers may need to consider prior to commitment to purchase a property.


Thinking of buying a property in Cornwall and want some advice? Call us on 01872 277230 or email info@cockrams-surveyors.co.uk